There is only one trait that makes the writer. He is always watching.
"Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is humanity's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion."
- Oscar Wilde
There is still an iron curtain between Europe’s two major mouse species, the so-called “Squeaky Curtain.” Today, they interbreed only in a narrow zone 10 to 20 km wide near the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. (“‘Squeaky Curtain’ divides Europe’s Eastern and Western mice”)
The Brideshead Generation’s “lost girls” were known for their dry repartee and sexual dalliances. Their stories deserve telling Lost Girls
“I try to tell young writers, ‘Do not fetishize your world-building.’ I’ve seen writers think they have to be Tolkien, they have to invent Elvish, before they can start the first page of their book.”
Warhol’s pranks, like dressing up as a box of Brillo, sound dumb. But we still live in his world
Because few bankers are men of letters, and few men of letters are bankers, Walter Bagehotremains unique. As does his supercilious literary style
Michael Hollingshead, LSD provider to the intellectually minded, is known as a benign cosmic courier. But his story has a dark side Divine Rascal
Tsundoku - is acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one's home without reading them
— Lisel Mueller
Inside Australia's former embassy to East Germany
In U.S., Library Visits Outpaced Trips to Movies in 2019
I haven't seen this one yet, but see also the W.W.Nortonpublicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com orAmazon.co.uk.
The Good Soldier Švejk Q & A
Radio Prague International has started a series on The Czech Books You Must Read and they now have a Q & A by Ian Willoughby with Abigail Weil ("who is currently working on a book about Hašek") about the most-translated and one of the best-known Czech novels, Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk.
The Penguin Classics edition is the Cecil Parrott translation -- get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- but, as they note, a new one, by Gerald Turner, is in the works, apparently scheduled for the centenary of Hašek's 1923 death.
(The Good Soldier Švejk isn't under review at the complete review -- I guess I'll wait until the new translation is out ... -- but Hašek's The Secret History of my Sojourn in Russia is.)
Howard Jacobson: 'Russia, My Homeland' – Tablet Magazine
My own contribution to the task of shaking the Urals from our shoes was preferring Tolstoy to Dostoevsky and once in a while putting in a word for Turgenev above them both. But weren’t there twinges of recognition whichever of them I read? Yes. No. Yes.
The Atlantic – “An unprecedented data set shows where the encyclopedia’s editors are, where they aren’t, and why. Analysis of Wikipedia IP editor activity. Wikipedia matters. In a time of extreme political polarization, algorithmically enforced filter bubbles, and fact patterns dismissed as fake news, Wikipedia has become one of the few places where we can meet to write a shared reality. We treat it like a utility, and the U.S. and U.K. trust it about as much as the news. But we know very little about who is writing the world’s encyclopedia. We do know that just because anyone can edit, doesn’t mean that everyone does: The site’s editors are disproportionately cis white men from the global North. We also know that, as with most of the internet, a small number of the editors do a large amount of the editing.
But that’s basically it: In the interest of improving retention, the Wikimedia Foundation’s own research focuses on the motivations of people who do edit, not on those who don’t. The media, meanwhile, frequently focus on Wikipedia’s personality stories, even when covering the bigger questions. And Wikipedia’s own culture pushes back against granular data harvesting: The Wikimedia Foundation’s strong data-privacy rules guarantee users’ anonymity and limit the modes and duration of their own use of editor data. But as part of my research in producing Print Wikipedia, I discovered a data set that can offer an entry point into the geography of Wikipedia’s contributors. Every time anyone edits Wikipedia, the software records the text added or removed, the time of the edit, and the username of the editor. (This edit history is part of Wikipedia’s ethos of radical transparency: Everyone is anonymous, and you can see what everyone is doing.) When an editor isn’t logged in with a username, the software records that user’s IP address. I parsed all of the 884 million edits to English Wikipedia to collect and geolocate the 43 million IP addresses that have edited English Wikipedia. I also counted 8.6 million username editors who have made at least one edit to an article…”